14 November 2017

South Africa: DA Calls for Debate of National Importance On Funding of Higher Education

press release

The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request that a debate on an urgent matter of national importance, in terms of National Assembly Rule 130, be held on the Fees Commission Report, which was released yesterday, 13 November 2017.

This debate will be critical for political direction and oversight and as required by NA Rule 130 (8) (d), this is a matter for which the government can be held responsible. It further relates to a specific matter of recent occurrence in terms of NA Rule 130 (8) (e).

The release of the long-awaited document has not been enough to calm the fears and anxieties of students, their families and higher learning institutions. Universities have been unable to set next year's fees as they had been waiting for the President to release it, while students remained in the dark with regards to whether they would be able to study next year.

This uncertainly is increased by the bizarre rumours about an alternative funding model allegedly backed by President Zuma himself that seeks to finance higher education through the slashing of social grants and increasing VAT.

An urgent debate is therefore clearly needed and will provide much needed clarity on the country's plan for higher education as well as rumours about the President's alleged plans to bypass the report.

Funding higher education is in itself a matter of national public importance and it is essential that the government puts this uncertainty to an end. We trust the Speaker will do the right thing and allow this vital discussion to be held.

Belinda Bozzoli MP

DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training

South Africa

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